Tories Kick Off Political Football

U.K. shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined what he expects from his new music business think-tank and taken a swipe at how the Labour government has treated the industry.

“I don’t think the government has done enough. Piracy has been around for a while, but frustratingly it has done nothing and it’s very disappointing for the music industry,” Hunt told Music Week.

He has set up a committee of about a dozen music business execs, headed by former BBC director general Greg Dyke and said to include Universal Music International head Lucian Grainge, former Warner and BPI chairman Rob Dickins, Classic FM managing director Darren Henley and Elisabeth Murdoch, the chief executive of television production company Shine.

In a bid to consolidate its opinion poll lead over an increasingly hapless Labour government, Hunt is asking his advisers to report on how to sustain investment in U.K. content in the digital age. Other topics include the role ISPs (and the government) can play in combating piracy, the U.K.’s digital infrastructure, creating and sustaining relationships with the media, and ensuring creative companies recruit skilled workers.

Joining in the political football, a government spokesman has dismissed Hunt’s criticisms and defended culture secretary Andy Burnham’s close relationship with the music industry.

He said the government is negotiating in Europe to extend the term of copyright protection for sound recordings, but has made it clear that this must result in genuine, tangible benefits for performers.

“Very few EU directives progress as quickly as this one has, and we expect an agreement to be reached soon at a second reading,” he added.